Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Homemade pouches of heaven

Happy April! I am desperately hoping that Spring is finally here to stay. Sunday was cold and wet, and included SLEET for much of the day. What the heck! Today is looking beautiful, though. I threw together this wreath for our front door on Sunday afternoon, and I love how cheerful it makes the front of our house look. Hooray, Spring!

One of the things that C and I set out to do in 2014 was challenge ourselves more in the kitchen. We both love to cook, and we love to do it together, but we often find ourselves making the same few dishes over and over. We decided to look for recipes neither of us had ever tried, cooking methods we'd never used, and other culinary challenges in order to get outside of our (really comfy) box. Mission accepted!

Right before Christmas, I discovered Besh Box, thanks to a friend of mine, and I knew it was just the kind of thing C would love. It's a cooking-themed subscription box service designed by Chef John Besh, and every box comes with recipes, specialty ingredients, shopping lists, a playlist, and a unique kitchen tool. It's awesome! I signed C up for a monthly subscription for one of his Christmas gifts, and it was a huge hit! We've received three boxes so far, and each one has been a party in a box. So much fun, and an awesome way to move our self-imposed challenge along.

The Besh Box for March was themed "Italian Feast Day," and the featured recipe was for homemade ravioli with Milanese sauce and Mudrica (also know as St. Joseph's Sawdust - a breadcrumb topping for pasta). We invited my parents and my uncle over for dinner Saturday night, and set out to whip up an Italian feast!

Making ravioli was so much harder than we expected - the dough was really hard to roll out and it was very time-consuming to create each individual little pouch. The filling for the ravioli was a simple roasted garlic & ricotta mixture, which we dabbed onto half the dough then folded the sheet in half and punched out the pockets with the ravioli press included in the Besh Box. It was well-worth the effort, though. Dinner turned out to be delicious! Picture this scene: five grown adults eating bowls of pasta, exclaiming out loud after each bite. I'm pretty sure that all the work required to make this meal made it taste that much better.

I have so much more respect for all the little Italian women out there who always make homemade pasta! Sheesh. I was exhausted by the time we finished and were finally ready to eat. How do they do it every day?!

The Besh Box didn't come with the recipe for the meatballs, but we thought that having a protein would help make the meal a little more substantial. I was very glad we threw those together on the side, because we didn't have to make QUITE so many raviolis. Plus, they were yummy - C makes awesome meatballs from scratch (the Italian in him really shines!) and they were a great addition.

We were really happy with this Box, even though it required so much time and work - the meal created at the end was fantastic. We haven't had a chance to make the recipes from the February box yet, but we did make the Chili Verde that was the main dish from the January box, and we thought that the ravioli turned out much better. The chili was just alright, and I was nervous about the recipes for the next boxes. The March recipes totally made up for January! Can't wait to see what the next months bring :)

So tell me...
  • Would you try a cooking-themed subscription service?
  • Have you ever made ravioli or some other kind of time-intensive meal?
  • What's the weather like where you are today?


Lisa C said...

If you're looking to make homemade ravioli a lot, you will want a ravioli pan. Ours has 12 or 14 pouches. You lay a piece of pasta over it, fill each pouch, then top with a second piece of pasta. You roll them out and cook them. Easy peasy.

Stephanie @ My Freckled Life said...

Yummm, that sounds awesome! I've never made homemade ravioli before - I had no idea it was so intense!